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The National Health Service (General Dental Services) (Scotland) Regulations 2010

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Complaints

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36.—(1) Subject to sub-paragraph (2), a contractor shall establish and operate, in accordance with this paragraph, a procedure (in this paragraph and in paragraph 37 referred to as a “practice based complaints procedure”) to deal with any complaints made by or on behalf of the contractor’s patients and former patients.

(2) The practice based complaints procedure to be established by a contractor may be such that it also deals with complaints made in relation to one or more dentists or other persons employed or engaged by the contractor.

(3) A practice based complaints procedure shall apply to complaints made in relation to any matter reasonably connected with the provision or assistance with the provision of general dental services and within the responsibility or control of—

(a)the contractor;

(b)where the contractor is a body corporate, any of its directors or former directors;

(c)any dentist either employed or engaged by the contractor;

(d)a former partner of the contractor;

(e)an employee of the dentist other than one falling within paragraph (c);

and in this paragraph and paragraph 37, references to complaints are to complaints falling within this sub-paragraph.

(4) A complaint may be made on behalf of a patient or former patient with the patient’s consent, or—

(a)where the patient is a child under 16—

(i)by either parent, or in the absence of both parents, the guardian or other adult person who has care of the child; or

(ii)in the care of an authority under Part II of the Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968(1) or in the care of a voluntary organisation, by that authority or organisation; or

(b)where the patient is incapable of making a complaint, by a relative or other adult person who has an interest in that patient’s welfare.

(5) Where a patient has died a complaint may be made by a relative or other adult person who had an interest in the patient’s welfare or, where the patient was as described in sub‑paragraph (4)(a)(ii), by the authority or voluntary organisation.

(6) A practice based complaints procedure shall comply with the following requirements:—

(a)the contractor shall specify a person (who need not be connected with the contractor’s practice and who, in the case of an individual, may be specified by job title) to be responsible for receiving and investigating all complaints;

(b)all complaints shall be—

(i)recorded in writing;

(ii)acknowledged, either orally or in writing, within the period of three days (excluding Saturdays, Sundays, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day and other public or local holidays agreed with the Health Board) beginning with the day on which the complaint was received by the person specified in paragraph (a), or where that is not possible, as soon as reasonably practicable; and

(iii)properly investigated;

(c)within the period of 20 days (excluding Saturdays, Sundays, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day and other public or local holidays agreed with the Health Board) beginning with the day on which the complaint was received by the person specified in paragraph (a), or where that is not possible, as soon as reasonably practicable, the complainant shall be given a written summary of the investigation and its conclusions;

(d)where the investigation of the complaint requires consideration of the patient’s dental records, the person specified in paragraph (a) shall inform the patient or person acting on the patient’s behalf if the investigation will involve disclosure of information contained in those records to a person other than the contractor or a partner, deputy or an employee of the contractor and obtain the consent of the patient or the person acting on the patient’s behalf to such disclosure; and

(e)the contractor shall keep a record of all complaints and copies of all correspondence relating to complaints, but such records shall be kept separate from patients’ dental records.

(7) A contractor shall inform the contractor’s patients about the practice based complaints procedure which it operates and give the name (or title) and address of the person specified in sub-paragraph (6)(a).

(1)

1968 c.49; Part II of the Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968 was extended with modification by the Guardianship Act 1973 (c.29) and was amended by the Health Services and Public Health Act 1968 (c.46), the National Health Service (Scotland) Act 1972 (c.58), the Health and Social Service and Social Security Adjudications Act 1983 (c.41), the Foster Children (Scotland) Act 1984 (c.56), the National Health Services and Community Care Act 1990 (c.19), the Children (Scotland) Act 1995 (c.36), the Community Care (Direct Payments) Act 1996 (c.30), the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 (c.33), the Community Care and Health (Scotland) Act 2002, (asp 5), the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2003, (asp 7), the Management of Offenders etc. (Scotland) Act 2005, (asp 14), and the Adult Support and Protection (Scotland) Act 2007, (asp 10).

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